Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Philippians 2:5-8 (NASB)

We are a very competitive society. Most everything is based on competition. We compete to get in schools. We compete in schools. We compete in athletics. We compete to get jobs and in jobs to advance. We even compete in lifestyles!

We want to be the best! If we are not the “best,” we want to have the best. In some way our personal significance is tied up in being able to say that in some way we are the best. If we cannot be the best in something, we feel that in some way we have failed It seems essential for us to be able to say (or at least to think), “I am better than you!”

Being “better than you” in some way makes us important. That attitude fuels significance and also fuels racism, classism, bullying others, oppressing people, and treating people as though they were things. It is an expression of arrogance that can justify almost anything—from the slavery form of prostitution to genocide. It says, “I have the right to treat you as I wish because I am better than you. Therefore you exist to serve my desires! I do not want to hear any complaints! Just serve my purposes well!”

If you are a Christian, the greatest person you know (Jesus Christ) DID NOT become the great one through competition. The eternal one at God’s right hand served people. He emptied himself. He became in form the created. He obeyed. He endured the shame and pain of a humiliating execution. He did not raise himself. He did not exalt himself. He did not position himself on God’s right hand. God highly exalted him!

He treated the lowly as important and God as superior. Today, by God the Father’s acts, Jesus is Lord. As Lord, he is our example. Through humility, he shows us the power of humility and the curse of arrogance.

Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you. James 4:10

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 18 April 2010

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